Amity Middle School Orange Book Blog

Read reviews by an avid young adult book enthusiast.

Friday, April 15, 2011


This book has the makings of a classic tale! Look closely at the book jacket and you will see the very evil character called Wolff with the trigger of a revolver superimposed over his face.
Doesn't he look sinister? Believe me; he is!
The year is 1910. Fourteen year old Sig Anderson has had the unfortunate fate of finding his beloved father dead. His father  was hurrying from town to their isolated, primative cabin  to return to Sig's stepmother, daughter and Sig when he took the ice covered lake route rather than the longer route around the shore. The ice gave way and he was plunged into the frigid artic water.

Although he was able to partially pull himself out of the hole he had fallen into, the frigid water temperature caused him to become immobile. He froze to death at the spot where he fell.

Wolff arrives the day after his father's death. He demands gold that he says Sig's father owes him. Sig is alone in the remote cabin with the corpse of his father. His mother and sister have taken the dogsled to town to seek help with the father's burial. When Sig tells Wolff he knows nothing about any gold, that is when Wolff's true evil nature is apparent.

Sig's father always said, "Even the dead tell stories." Sig is left to try to figure out what his father meant by that statement. He is also left with the revolver that his father gave him. Only one person will escape alive from the remote cabin.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

World's End

Lovers of the fantasy Dormia rejoice! Book Two of the Dormia series entitled World's End by Jake Halpern and Peter Kujawinski is filled with the same wonderful imaginative characters and adventures!

Alphonso Perplexion is on a school trip to France when he begins to lag behind in the catacombs beneath the streets of Paris. Now a teenager, Alphonso has gone through a growth spurt in the three years since he left Dormia. He is rather tall and gaunt. He experiences his first sleepwalking episode in three years when he meets Sophie who is also a Wanderer. The real action begins a few days later when the class trip to Marseilles, France causes another sleeping adventure that puts Alphonso on a freighter bound for of all places--Egypt.

My favorite part of this book is when Alphonso meets up with Resuza, Hill, and Bilblox. Their adventures on the fault roads was amazing to me. Will the man that Alphonso keeps seeing in his sleeping episodes be his long lost father? Could his father really be alive? Read the sequal to Dormia, World's End, to find out!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Maybe you have wondered what makes a bully behave the way he/she does. Maybe you would like to know that a bully does get punished for pushing people around. This book satisfies on both of these counts.
Tod is a self-confessed bully. When he and the other boys he hangs with get caught breaking into the school, Tod receives a month of after-school detention monitored by his guidance counselor, Mrs. Woodrow. His droogs (his buddies in crime) receive a more physical punishment--cleaning the school grounds after school.
Each day Tod shows up for his detention. His punishment is to write in a notebook--thus where the title of Scrawl comes from. Mrs. Woodrow makes comments on the entries. As the novel progresses it is easy to understand why Tod does some of the things he does. Lacking money for basic things like food and clothes, he extorts it from what he terms are the "losers" in the school. Tod's droogs start to resent his punishment and begin to have a falling out which results in Tod making friends that change the way in which he behaves.
All around a very good read! I became quite sympathetic to the character of Tod and his situation.

Ship Breaker

Hulks of freighters, cargo ships, and tankers from our present day line the Gulf Coast near New Orleans in this futuristic adventure story. Nailer Lopez is fifteen and due to his small size, he is working "light crew". His job is to crawl through these rusted hulks to find valuable copper wiring and other metals which can be scavenged. It is a very rough and tumble life the scavenge crews live--always in danger from leaking chemicals, oil, and other treacherous things which could happen while they are trying desperately to meet their daily quotas for their crew bosses.

Nailer's father, Richard Lopez, is the devil we all love to hate. Drug addicted, he beats Nailer with little or no provocation.

When a "city killer" (hurricane) threatens the coastal area where Nailer and the other crews live, a luxurious clipper ship wrecks(think of our most modern yachts with sleek design features which make them ultra fast), Nailer and Prima decide to scavenge it with the hopes of making enough money to escape their brutal lives. Can they keep their find of fancy silver plates and some gold from the other crew members? Can they keep their secret from Nailer's father? What do they decide to do with the "swank" (wealthy) girl who has survived the wreck of the clipper ship? Can they trust what the "swank" named Nita tells them regarding a reward from her wealthy father?

I thoroughly was involved in this book! I can see why it won the Prinz award and was a National Book Finalist. I am amazed that this is Paolo Bacigalupi's first novel! It is very well written. There are violent parts (no more brutal or violent than The Hunger Games). Fans of dystopian fiction will love this title!

I Am Number Four

This science fiction title which is authored by James Frey (A Million Broken Pieces) and Jobie Hughes delivers! The premise of the story rests in aliens living and residing among us! Nine children from the planet Lorien have escaped an especially vicious attack on their planet from the Mogadorians. Along with their guardians, the nine have been living on Earth for ten years until they grow into their legacies. The power they obtain from their legacies will hopefully help them return to their planet and reclaim it. Three of the nine have already been killed by their enemies. John Smith is number four. He will be next!
John Smith, aged 15,  and his protector, Henri Smith serve as the main characters. They have had to move repeatedly to avoid detection and especially to escape from Mogadorians who have traveled to Earth to kill all nine of the remaining Lorien teens.
I especially loved the dog that befriends John in Paradise, Ohio when they move there from Florida. Bernie Kosar is a weird name for a dog, but this is not your normal pet! Also fascinating to me were the legacies that John develops--telekinesis (ability to move things), lumen (ability to use his hands to create light), and telepathy (ability to communicate with animals and others).
A movie has already been created which adds to this book's appeal. Sequels are in the works by the two authors. (Pittacus Lore is listed as the author on the front of the book; he is one of the Lorien elders.)